Aeroelasticity and flutter
Cooper, Jonathan E. Department of Aerospace Engineering, University of Bristol, Bristol, United Kingdom.
Last reviewed:November 2019
- Static aeroelasticity
- Dynamic aeroelasticity
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
Aeroelasticity is the science concerning the interaction of aerodynamic, elastic, and inertial forces acting upon a flexible structure and the resulting behavior. This interaction is described by the classic Collar aeroelastic triangle (Fig. 1). Subsets of aeroelasticity include flight mechanics and vibrations. Aeroelastic effects have a major impact upon the design and performance of aerospace vehicles, and indeed have done so since the very first human-powered flights. Often the key design drivers for structural sizing (for example, rib and spar dimensions) are the result of aeroelasticity and load considerations. Some aeroelastic phenomena, such as flutter, can lead to catastrophic structural failure, whereas others affect the aircraft's operation and passenger comfort. Virtually all aeroelastic phenomena are undesirable and require stiffer, and hence heavier (the so-called aeroelastic penalty), structural designs in order to meet design requirements. Aeroelasticity is not related solely to aircraft wings, but is also related to many other structures where there is interaction between a flexible body and airflow, for example, jet engine turbine blades, helicopter rotors, formula 1 racing cars, buildings and bridges, and wind turbines. See also: Aerodynamics; Elasticity; Inertia
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